One thing that I have learned on this whirlwind trip to the US is to “Never say never”. Firstly, I never wanted to visit the US because I thought about it as being a very materialistic place. But, as luck would have it, I have completed 2 trips to this free country. Freedom is very relative and I would like to reserve talking about it, to a separate thread.
Secondly, I always thought lasting friendships are created only during school or college, but this myth was debunked when I made some real good friendships at work. One of them is the reason for my one trip to Mumbai and two trips to Chicago, so far. I made the trip to Mumbai a few years back, just to visit her, thinking that it would be the last time that I would see her as she was moving permanently to the US – something that she thought she would 'never' do. Couple of years back, I made a trip to the east coast of US, courtesy some of my good friends from college and I couldn't miss the trip to Chicago to visit this friend from Mumbai. The timing was perfect too – she had just had a baby. She took time out and we went around Chicago downtown where I was introduced to Panera Bread – an uptown alternative to Subway sandwiches. Chicago, I got to know from my friend, is known for its architecture. I did notice that the buildings were different from one another – unlike in New York City where everything seems like a tall rectangular structure. Chicago is home to the famous Bean by Indian born artist Anish Kapoor.
How the next visit to Chicago happened is something I cannot explain – just as I cannot explain how my other friend and I started on the crazy road trip from Indiana to California. My friend from Mumbai calls it a “karmic connection”. I guess it must be true. We were treated like family as we chatted heartily over yummy food and the little one entertained us throughout our stay. It was a very short stop-over, but a memorable one. My friend told us that she was jealous about us making the road trip – I guess true friends are like that; they do not hide anything :)